Story One: A letter, written on a bus.
The door between us was slammed shut and I felt guilty about that. If the door was to be closed, I wanted it to be a gentle push, so softly that I heard the latch, but to do that I would need to reopen it. Or, maybe I would get lucky and the universe would determine it to be a door best left open. The only way to know for sure was to turn the handle.
So, while riding the Southbound 147, I wrote a letter to this person. I said all the things I couldn’t before and the only things I left out were anger and accusation. I wanted admiration and gentleness to pass between us, and I said as much. I put myself out there in one of the most raw forms that I could and I revealed things I often keep hidden.
Although I had written letters to this person before, this was the first one I had finished, and then mailed. It took me a few days to work up the courage to put on the stamp and walk it to the post office, but an undying urge would not let these words be unspoken. So, I put trust into God, the universe and my higher good that whatever returned was the truth of the situation. Keep the door shut or open.
Story Two: An email, written on a train.
One spot left in the showcase, and it could be mine if I replied at that moment, the email said. I boarded the Red Line toward Howard and decided that if there was no further emails indicating someone else took the spot when I hit the above-ground tracks, I would send the email.
As I waited through the six stops, I thought about all the reasons I couldn’t or shouldn’t. If I was going to do this, I would have to fight through layers of uncomfortable emotions and fears. It would be so easy to not say anything at all, just keep on going where I was. I didn’t need to put myself on display that way and who would even want to hear what I have to say, anyway.
The train pulled into Fullerton. No followup email.
I’d be interested in the open spot, I said. So, I put trust into God, the universe and my higher good that whatever returned would be the path I should follow.
The consequence of vulnerability:
Story One – The letter receiver responded, albeit kindly, to my four-page letter with four lines. It was never mentioned again and my soul, bare and raw, was the only one revealed.
Story Two – I made my debut as a story teller, leading to one of the most wonderful nights.
I used to believe that vulnerability was weakness. It was something you did not share with others because it would reveal your flaws and then people wouldn’t accept you. Vulnerability is a one-way road to failure.
Vulnerability, as I am learning, is actually how we become ourselves. When we are vulnerable, we tell the world and ourselves that who we are and what we have to offer is enough. It’s in being vulnerable that we live our most authentic life.
I am actually studying vulnerability with someone trained in the matter and I am hoping that I can find the courage to be more vulnerable, in both the big and small moments of life. As I learned in these two moments of vulnerability, sometimes when we put ourselves out there it can lead to grand things, and other times not. Either way, it’s how I want to live.
Share with me. How have you been vulnerable? What were the outcomes? How would you like to be more vulnerable?
Photo found here